If corporations are persons, why isn't there a death penalty for them?
[W]hat happened in 1993 is that a wonky Clinton team tried to preemptively compromise with the insurance companies, and did zero organizing to deal with a backlash they didn't foresee. The right-wing innovated to the defeat his plan, using a new combination of genuinely poisonous Congressional politics, direct mail, and cable news punditry. Instead of understanding that they had been outmaneuvered, Clinton Democrats took the lesson that any policy challenging corporate power had low public support, whereas the business community took the lesson from this fight that bad faith poisonous aggression can pass any policy they want.
Well put. And here we are today! One of the key playas in the fight against universal health care (i.e., letting an expedient number of U.S. citizens die) is the US Chamber of Commerce:
Now I've done a fair amount of blogging on Chamber of Commerce and its President Thomas Donahue, who has built the Chamber into the $100 million a year institutional manifestation of this sickness. Donahue has been on the board of both Union Pacific and Sunrise Senior Living when they were found to have serious safety concerns that end up killing or hurting people, and Donahue never loses an opportunity to lobby for relaxed regulations to allow his companies to kill more efficiently. He's going to fight tooth and nail to kill any attempt to change the system for the worse, and he has $100 million to do it.
But it's not just health care.
And with the new Democratic Congress undominated by Dixiecrats for the first time in a hundred years, the fight for universal health care is going to mirror a whole series of clashes with corporate power that include the Employee Free Choice Act, negotiations with Medicare, net neutrality, media consolidation, war profiteering, corruption in the food industry, shareholder abuses, etc. It's that bad. And these are not problems that can be solved this cycle - they are going to require big fights and then one or multiple elections during which the public must ratify our anti-corporate populist message.
Well, look. Union Pacific and Sunrise Senior Living are both murderous corporations. That leaps to the eye from what Matt wrote.
So, how does one give a corporation the death penalty? Obviously not by distributing the corporations assets to the stockholders; shit, they caused the problem by not reining in the corporation they own.
I'd say you compensate the families of the people the corporation murdered (let a jury decide the amount), and then evenly divide the rest among the employees (i.e., no golden parachutes for the executives).
The Murderous Corporations Act of 2008... I like the sound of it. But I'm also reminded, in making this semi-serious proposal, of Meyer's reaction to McGee, when McGee was going to solve money laundering by changing the color of money. Meyer just started shaking his head.... So, it would take a real economist to figure this out.